In memory of our colleague, Dillon Wackerman

The staff of Central University Libraries are deeply saddened to share the news about the death of our wonderful and brilliant colleague, Dillon Wackerman. After a nationwide search, Dillon joined SMU’s Central University Libraries on August 1, 2016, as the Digital Repository Librarian. He quickly rebranded SMU’s digital repository as SMU Scholar and transformed it into a vibrant showcase of the University’s scholarly research.

It is hard to capture in words Dillon’s relentless drive to expand support for scholarly communication at SMU. He was a proactive advocate for Open Access and an emerging leader on our campus in developing strategies for strengthening relationships between the libraries and the campus community. He enabled faculty and students to exercise their publishing options in SMU Scholar and worked tirelessly with all contributors – faculty, students, and staff at every level. He continuously served as a dedicated advocate of Open Access, author’s rights, and the preservation of SMU’s academic output, and scheduled many meetings and training sessions in his professional endeavor.

His creativity in and exuberance for Scholarly Communications stood above the crowd. He developed and hosted conferences that captured the latest trends and thinking in this field. Librarians and faculty from around the region attended these effervescent events, which led to lively, professional debates and critical discussions on the future of library publishing and the free flow of scholarly information.

Dillon was a true professional with the highest standards of excellence. In a short amount of time, he rebuilt SMU’s digital repository at a breathtaking speed. Dillon was also a beautiful and caring person whom we will never forget. Central University Libraries is fortunate for having  known and worked with such a professional and kind colleague. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family in Texas and California.

For those of you who wish to donate funds for Dillon’s family to support them in the following months ahead, please go to:

Texas Women Artists: Selections from Bywaters Special Collections on view

The metalwork, photographs, prints, and sculpture selected for the new exhibition, Texas Women Artists: Selections from Bywaters Special Collections, are from the holdings of Bywaters Special Collections, located in the Jake and Nancy Hamon Arts Library.  Each artist represented in the exhibition had early art training, most of it professional, yet career paths diverged as they became curators, educators, gallery directors, metalsmiths, printmakers, and sculptors.  The first artist represented is Louise Heuser Wueste (Wüste), a “pioneer” since she is the first known professionally-trained woman artist to arrive in Texas in the mid-nineteenth century.  Many other women artists followed in her footsteps, and their legacy is still felt today in works of art they created and organizations they established.

In view of the fragile nature of the works of art shown in this exhibition, reproductions of the originals are exhibited. Texas Women Artists: Selections from Bywaters Special Collections is on view August 21, 2017 – August 5, 2018.

Image: Courtesy of Mary Nye Collection, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University

Two Texans at the MoMA: Medellin and Spruce

As part of the graduation requirements to earn my Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies from Southern Methodist University, I completed a capstone project titled Two Texans at the MoMA: Medellin and Spruce. The purpose of my project was to collaborate with the Bywaters Special Collections staff to complete a research paper using the many primary sources available in the collection. The paper examined the historical significance of the exhibit catalog of the “Americans 1942: 18 Artists from 9 States” and the Texas regional artists represented in the exhibition.

Two Texas regional painters, Octavio Medellin (1907-1999) and Everett Spruce (1907-2002) were the only two Texas artists included in the exhibition “Americans 1942: 18 Artists from 9 States” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, January 21-March 8, 1942. The Bywaters Special Collections in the Hamon Arts Library at Southern Methodist University, named for Jerry Bywaters who was a leader in the Texas regional art movement, holds a personalized copy of the catalog from that exhibition. Through studying the MoMA catalog and using the primary sources in the Bywaters’ archive at SMU, I was able to determine why the MoMA chose to hold this exhibition, what the iconographic and stylistic themes of the exhibition were, and the criteria for selection of the 18 artists. The archive also provided me with valuable information regarding the careers and contributions of the artists. Working with the knowledgeable and helpful staff in the archive made the journey into the world of primary sources an enlightening and pleasurable experience.

For information about Octavio Medellin and Everett Spruce and to access the primary source in Bywaters SpecialCollections, please visit:

Blog post: Courtesy of LaGail Davis, General Operations Manager, Hamon Arts Library, CUL, SMU.

Image: Cover of the cited exhibition catalogue: Dorothy Canning Miller, ed., Americans, 1942: 18 artists from 9 states (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1942).